Anti-Corruption (反腐 or “fan fu”) in China

Dear Friends, Academic Travel Abroad has a long history in China. We have run educational travel programs there since 1980. CET Academic Programs, our study abroad division, has served American students on immersive language and cultural programs in China since 1982. We have witnessed the trial of the Gang of Four and the suicide of … Continue reading

Cuba: A Return to Sanity?

Dear Friends, At noon on December 17, 2014, the Academic Travel Abroad team gathered in our conference room to hear President Obama announce he intended to normalize relations with Cuba for the first time in over 50 years.  Many on our team have spent the past few years working closely with Cuba to deliver superb educational … Continue reading

The Riviera and the 7th Art: Cannes at its Best!

Dear Friends, Last time I was there, I ate lunch at a café table next to Michael Douglas and a beautiful model. I watched a very young and shy Isabelle Adjani being interviewed in the lobby of the Carlton Hotel. I gaped at a rather large Shelley Winters, a faded beauty who still radiated charm, … Continue reading

Cuba: What Does it Say About our Country?

Dear Friends, I find Cuba endlessly fascinating. When you travel to Cuba, you always end up leaving with more questions than answers. Yet, beyond the cultural richness of this island nation, there is another way in which Cuba gives this U.S. citizen pause. Cuba provides an intriguing lens through which to view our own nation. … Continue reading

In Search of the Perfect Laab in Laos

Dear Friends, Laab (also written ‘larb’) is a dish originating in Laos that has become a staple of menus across Thailand.  Its name means “luck” and this dish is a frequent star at the table during festivals and special occasions. It also makes the perfect gift for guests, conveying your good wishes along with some … Continue reading

A Lao Village Along the Mekong

The splashing of water lures me out to my stern balcony. They must be diving under the ship to fix the faulty propeller, I think. As I lean over the edge of the railing, I discover I am wrong: four Lao children are swimming gleefully around the boat on a competitive circuit, the weakest swimmer … Continue reading

Cuba: Survival with Passion

Dear Friends, I confess, I love the stories behind a revolution. They are exciting, bold, romantic, epic. They also entail struggle, pain, blood and death.  Unlike wars between nations, revolutions attempt to throw out an old system and replace it with something fresh, more just, more virtuous. Idealism runs rampant until reality sets in and … Continue reading

Never a Dull Moment

Dear Friends, When an earthquake occurred in China during students’ spring break, and an Icelandic  volcano spewed ash across European skies, and Greeks threw projectiles on Syntagma Square in Athens, several friends and professional associates asked me the same question: “Why are you in this crazy business?!” Well, it all harks back to why we … Continue reading

Authenticity in Travel

Dear Friends, On a recent trip to the southwest of France exploring the culinary delights of foie gras, truffles, duck and walnuts, a question kept occurring to me: what can be described as “authentic”?  Is a truffle farm authentic because its owners hunt for its precious fungi in a traditional way passed on for generations … Continue reading

The Resilience of the Travel Industry

Dear Friends, Reading the daily news has become an increasingly depressing exercise of late. We, in the travel industry, have our fair share of woes, as discretionary spending slows, retirement funds are halved, and consumer confidence wavers.  So it was a surprise and comfort to me when I attended a meeting in Savannah last week … Continue reading